The GEPA and the tea trading company Tea Promoters India, in short TPI, can look back on a successful 30-year partnership. During this time, both companies have been pioneers together in the areas of fair trade and organic Darjeeling cultivation. The cooperation has model character and contributes decisively to establishing fair trade out of the market niche. Organic cultivation, for example, now accounts for 56% of tea cultivation throughout Darjeeling.
From the very beginning, tea workers and pickers have been involved in democratic decision-making processes and voting on social measures through a specially developed co-determination model. The promotion of women is an important aspect of the partnership. For the first time in the Indian history of tea cultivation, a tea garden is managed by a woman. The GEPA offers three tea rarities in handmade packaging, which are produced in India, whereby more value remains in the cultivation country. In addition, over 90% of the tea bag tea envelopes are made of certified wood pulp. Solar energy and biogas are used in production.
Another focus is on fairness, which is why TPI pays its employees wages not only during harvest time, but throughout the year, ensuring a stable and secure source of income. In addition to their wages, the tea pickers receive bonuses for their harvesting efforts and enjoy medical care for their families. TPI also pays into a pension fund for them.
Both companies also stand out in the area of social commitment. 25 years ago, the two companies started a cow project in which each employee family receives a cow. In this way the families benefit from the milk supply. They can also use cow dung as fertiliser for their own vegetable gardens or sell it to TPI. Workshops on health care and hygiene are also offered. With a new guest house, TPI was able to promote ecotourism, create new job prospects and thus prevent rural exodus. The proceeds from the tourism project flow into development projects such as solar lighting and house and road construction. A joint school project has led to an increase in the literacy rate. The management of the project was handed over to the state for reinforcement.
The jury honours the partnership between GEPA and Tea Promoters India with a nomination among the Top 3 in the category "Corporate Partnerships 2020" of the German Sustainability Award.